Delta plane slides off runway at New York’s LaGuardia Airport – Reuters

Posted: Thursday, March 05, 2015

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Delta Air Lines jetliner with 125 passengers and five crew members aboard slid off the runway upon landing during a snowstorm at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, but officials said there were no serious injuries.

Delta flight 1086 was landing at LaGuardia after a morning flight from Atlanta, the airline said. The passengers were evacuated safely from the aircraft on inflatable slides and moved to the airport terminal on buses.

Images from local media showed the Delta plane on a snowy runway area with its nose smashed into a fence at the edge of Flushing Bay. A fuel spill was caused by accident but has been contained, local media said.

Multiple emergency rescue crews were on the scene and a man and two women, one of them wearing a neck brace, were seen being taken away from the scene in ambulances.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the incident at LaGuardia, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the operator of the three main airports serving the New York metropolitan area.

LaGuardia’s runways were closed soon after the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration said, a routine procedure when such incidents occur.

The airport is expected to reopen at 7 p.m. EST (0000 GMT), at the same time as a winter storm warning was to be lifted, the FAA said.

Delta said it would work with all authorities to look into what happened.

The airline’s shares were down 2.3 percent at $44.11 in Thursday afternoon trading.

Following the incident, passengers on the plane took to social media.

“I felt for sure that we were going into that water. Thankfully, we did not,” a passenger who identified himself as Aaron Smith wrote on Twitter.

LaGuardia Airport, the smallest of the three airports serving the New York City area, has been the scene of two previous crashes involving wintry weather in recent history.

On March 2, 1994, Continental Airlines flight 705 bound for Denver aborted takeoff during a snowstorm and slid off the runway into a ditch. There were no fatalities, although 29 people were injured.

Two years earlier, USAir Flight 405 headed for Cleveland crashed during a snowy takeoff at LaGuardia, killing 27 people of the 51 on board. The crash was later blamed on icing on its wings.

(Additional reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jeffrey Dastin; editing by Doina Chiacu, Bill Trott and G Crosse)

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